Joshua Tree Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 600,
Joshua Tree, CA 92252

  PH: (442) 400-1324

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Jeff McClellan (artist)


Like many Midwesterners before him, Jeff McClellan always dreamed of moving to California. Born in Salem, Ind., and a lifelong painter, McClellan attended the Herron School of Art at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis for four years.

Looking at McClellan's work, one of his professors told him to study the art of David Hockney. Hockney was a British painter whose portraits of Southern California life were notable for their airy feeling of space and light and the subtle flattening and simplification of forms, as well as the sense of sun-drenched living they capture.

A few years after graduating, McClellan made the decision to move in with a friend who lived in Venice Beach.

During the eight years he spent in Venice, he developed a painting style that enabled him to take seemingly mundane subjects and infuse them with a color and form that celebrated their own unique vitality.

A commissioned portrait of &#8220Anne in the Garden” shows a woman in a cherry red bikini watering her lawn.

McClellan paints a story of this woman in dark glasses, shadows on her neck and face, in front of a window with blinds.

McClellan still makes his living in Los Angeles as a hair stylist.

A couple of years ago he was touring Palms Springs and decided to take a hiking trip in the Hi-Desert.

In spite of the weekly commute, he decided to take advantage of the inexpensive housing prices at the time and purchased a house in Joshua Tree.

The realtor who sold him his house was David Haworth, a noted Hi-Desert photographer.

That started a friendship that led them to combine their talents and exhibit their work during the Morongo Basin Art Studio Tours of 2005.

On the walls of his studio here in Joshua Tree, there is an acrylic portrait of an actress with a large feather boa and white pearls.

Her smile is highlighted with large red lips and her eyes stare straight into those of the viewer.

McClellan used acrylics with this work because it gave him the bright colors and clear lines he needed to bring this woman to life.

McClellan's desert house is pictured in a painting with a white roof, a greenish brown Joshua tree and a bright orange car.

McClellan also has a series of self-portraits in oils that he painted on drawing paper.

Smaller in size, they show the artist in varying moods. Always experimenting, he painted a tall portrait of a woman with black oil paint on photographic paper.

One of his most financially successful series was a group of paintings of feet in sandals.

The red toenails on browned feet resting on grass or sand with fluorescent colored sandals.

More recently McClellan has turned from a Matisse-influenced style of painting to a more impressionistic style.

Using oils to convey a more atmospheric perspective, and a more muted sense of color and line, he portrays the Palo Verde landscape of the desert near his home.

E-Mail Jeff at for more information.

Read an article published in the Hi Desert Star in 2006 about Jeff McClellan.

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